An investigation was conducted to measure and understand the physical and mechanical effects that occur in boron fibers during and after thermal treatment in a controlled oxygen argon gaseous mixture. Of principal concern was the optimization of this treatment as a secondary processing method for significantly improving fiber tensile strength. Strengthening was accomplished by an oxidation induced axial contraction of the fiber and a resulting axial compression of strength limiting flaws within the fiber's tungsten boride core. Various physical observations were used to develop mechanistic models for oxidation, contraction, and flow formation. Processing guidelines are discussed for possibly exceeding the 5.5 GN/sq m strength limit and also for achieving fiber strengthening during application of boron containing diffusion barrier coatings.